Benjamin Peter, edited by Manon Fossat 10:44 am, October 22, 2021

Prime Minister Jean Castex will relaunch this Friday the "early bird train", which transports Mediterranean fruits and vegetables from Perpignan to the Rungis market (Val-de-Marne) near Paris, after a two-year hiatus.

The first train must leave the Saint-Charles market in Perpignan around 3:00 p.m., to arrive in Rungis on Saturday at 4:00 a.m., in time to feed the belly of Paris.

After two years at the docks, it's the big departure on Friday afternoon for the 12 refrigerated wagons loaded with fruit and vegetables on the early bird train between Perpignan and Rungis.

A convoy reduced by half, but which makes it possible to avoid transporting goods by road.

Jean Castex will attend this restart thanks to state aid, even if, on the spot, we hope that this time, the train will stay on track. 

"Invest in other wagons"

"We're very happy to get our baby back. It will mean fewer trucks on the highway."

Magali is delighted to see the train at the platforms again, she who has driven it so often for more than twenty years.

Michaël Meunier, from the CGT-Cheminots will also be at the helm of this primeurs train in a few days.

But for him, it is not with just 12 wagons that this line will be profitable.

"There are 50 wagons missing for the service to be complete. It's a good start, but we must press the cursor and we will not let go. We must invest in other wagons," he pleads.

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Especially since the train will return empty five days a week, ten months out of twelve.

Charge to the SNCF to find customers for this return.

For Hermeline Malherbe, the president of the department, this should not become an argument to delete the line again in a few months.

"The way in which it is proposed to us that it rolls, I'm afraid it's a flash in the pan, a publicity stunt. There is only half a train and it's been ten years that we talks to us about profitability at the SNCF. So I'm afraid that we will be told that it is not profitable and that we stop it, "she worries.

The first train should leave the Saint-Charles market in Perpignan at 3:00 p.m., to arrive in Rungis on Saturday around 4 a.m.

Keywords: departure, jean castex, fruits, market, primeurs, perpignan, rungis, train, vegetables, pan, flash, hiatus, restart, belly, hope